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ca urban designer

Best Practices in Urban Design

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I'm working on a research project looking for the best practices in urban design, worldwide. Any suggestions of great places you've been to would be helpful in cutting through the developer spin. :) Thanks!

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Can you be more specific about the best practices that you're looking for...and what you mean by developer spin? Are you looking for large or small scale? Planned communities? Infill projects? Subdivisions? Residential buildings? Individual buildings? Environmentally-sensitive development?

I'm sure many of us would love to point you in a direction. I could use more information from you.

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Can you be more specific about the best practices that you're looking for...and what you mean by developer spin? Are you looking for large or small scale? Planned communities? Infill projects? Subdivisions? Residential buildings? Individual buildings? Environmentally-sensitive development?

I'm sure many of us would love to point you in a direction. I could use more information from you.

Sorry about that- What I'm looking for are examples of built mixed-use projects, done in the last 5-7 years, large-scale, and especially with components such as good transit orientation, pedestrian-orientation, creative infill, and/or environmental sensitivity. Projects that work well as a whole and in their context.

Right now I'm doing a lot of research using the ULI case studies, which are a wonderful source of data, but not any editorial content. I'm especially interested in projects that are getting good press, but we as planners/designers don't feel like work on the ground very well.

A personal example of 'press versus reality' was when I saw Orenco Station outside of Portland. The project had been written up as a stellar example of TOD, but the city center and housing are located 1/4 mile from the station, oriented to an arterial street, and the central green that looked fine in photos was deserted and overscaled.

Thanks again.

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^

check out Portland's Pearl District (the new infill buildings, the warehouse renovations and the new Hoyt Street Yards section) and also Portland's brand new built-from-scratch high-rise South Waterfront neighborhood. Vancouver BC especially the Yaletown neighborhood is also a great place to check out. All of these mentioned neighborhoods fit your criteria.

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You might want to check out the SouthSide Works in Pittsburgh. It's a fairly new development on the site of an old steel mill. It is mixed use, and it fits in very nicely with the existing neighborhood. Pedestrian friendly and close to public transit and trails. In fact it is so pedestrian friendly that the developer turned down a Krispy Kreme because they would have put in a drive-thru.

It's new enough that it isn't even finished yet. Still planned are hotels, a riverfront park, some more office space, and more loft apartments. It will be the home of American Eagle Outfitters national headquarters, and also a new project called the Surety Center that will provide facilities and help to Asian companies that want to come to the US.

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I'm sure this is nothing new, but you might want to check out the website of Duany Plater-Zyberk to see New Urbanist designs. While the architecture itself isn't cutting-edge, the designs are well thought out and the places they create are quite livable and pleasant. In any event, it's worth a look.

Duany Plater-Zyberk

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I'm not sure if you're still looking for something but I've run across some great examples in the Denver area.

The following website is a great resource with pics, info, and maps.

www.denverinfill.com

1. Click on the "Downtown Main Map"

2. Click on the "Central Platte Valley North"

3. The site is sort of interactive with GIS images etc.

The River Front Park area is a huge mixed use development near their rail system.

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The Gateway District and Atlantic Station are both relatively small compared to the larger context of their communitites, but both are good examples nonetheless.

What they both lack, especially The Gateway District in my opinion, are an adequate number of single family detatched homes. I'm no talking about exurban style, massive yards and no sidewalks complete with your very own Mcmansion, but rather dense, one and two story single family homes which are crucial in luring families back to the cities.

Stapleton, Denver seems to have a good overall mix of everything.

Hercules, California

On the San Pablo Bay outside of San Francisco is a good example of a small, former bedroom community adopting detailed, ambitious and sound urban redevelopment plans.

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A critical evaluation of the waterfront redevelopment in Jersey City was produced by Paul Goldberger in 2004. Titled, "Shanghain on the Hudson," he criticizes uninspired, soul-less building designs, and the expanding "Asian-high-rise dormitory" residential towers that have been a large part of the transformation of industrial docks into NJ's "Gold Coast." Goldberger says that the Jersey City waterfront lacks the urbanity of interior Jersey City and Newark, as well as the vigor of Manhattan, despite its location between the two. He says "[The waterfront] is less a city than a suburbanite's idea of what a city might be if all the unpleasant people went away."

An interesting read. Shanghai on the Hudson

It's not a best practice, but a way to learn about some of the problems of large-scale high-rise development run amuck!

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I would say a new urban mixed use neighborhood. Notice the setback, density, trees and yes their are businesses.

Creating a new community is near impossible so you will need to avoid the arrogant Architect who is out to design the pyramids but instead trully wants to create a charming livable village. Force them to use pattern books.

Have a look at this company.

http://urbandesignassociates.com/

Mexican War Streets National Historic District, Pittsburgh PA is currently being converted to a a new urban neighborhood.

BuenaVista%20stoops.jpg

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